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LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

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A simple way to help! [May. 7th, 2008|07:11 pm]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

insomnia
As adpfromga mentioned today, one of the other candidates has numerous nominations, but no platform that he is running on.

This isn't a threat, so long as as many of us as possible contribute a relatively minor amount to help grow ljunited and expand the base of support for rm 's candidacy.

We need to work our plan... and that plan is to create the strongest, largest, most diverse, most united community possible, with the best candidate, the best platform, the best knowledge, the best ideas, the best strategy, and the best plans for the future.

So far, so good!

But obviously, more needs to be done to make up the difference from where we are right now and where we want to be in the future. And that's not going to be done by me or by rm , because if it's just the two of us working at it, our odds of winning are low.

The person who is going to win this thing is you. All of you, and everyone you help bring on board...

All of us.

To that end, I would like to encourage everyone reading this to make one short comment saying:
"I'd like to help! This is what I'm good at and what I'm willing to do."


It doesn't have to be much. If all of us made a commitment to make a single post to our journals, telling people about LJ United, it would make a huge difference!

Many of you pay $25 a year for LJ... or *WOULD* gladly pay, if their management got their act together. That translates out to a real commitment of your time to this site, as is the time you spend using LJ. How much time are you willing to spend to see to it that LJ doesn't just exist, but thrives? How much time to see that our site doesn't slowly die, at least without a fight?

That's the commitment I'm asking you to make today. A little time from all of us, so that a burden shared becomes a burden lessened.

The skills we we need most right now are:
- graphics design
- web design / community management
- writers willing to work on short promotional texts, emails, etc.
- a paid account 
- the willingness to contact the admins of a few of the major communities by email.

... and commitments from as many of you as possible to make a post similar to the following in your journal:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Hi everyone. I just wanted to take a minute to encourage you to join a new community called ljunited , a community dedicated to working towards defending and restoring the original promises made to LiveJournal's members, standing up for the free speech of LiveJournal's members, restoring LJ's original strong support for Open Source software, and restoring community participation in the successful operations of LiveJournal.

Although ljunited is a brand new community, it has grown rapidly and is building a strong, inclusive, diverse coalition, united in standing up for us.

LJUnited overwhelmingly endorsed rm recently as their candidate for the upcoming LJ Advisory Board elections. I hope you'll consider supporting her nomination. Thanks! 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The HTML code you'd need to paste into your LJ window to make this post is as follows:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Hi everyone. I just wanted to take a minute to encourage you to <a href="http://www.livejournal.com/community/join.bml?comm=ljunited">join</a> a new community called <lj user="ljunited"> , a community dedicated to working towards defending and restoring the <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20040401175244/http://www.livejournal.com/site/contract.bml">original promises</a> made to LiveJournal's members, standing up for the free speech of LiveJournal's members, restoring LJ's original strong support for Open Source software, and restoring community participation in the successful operations of LiveJournal. </p>

 Although <lj user="ljunited"> is a brand new community, it has grown rapidly and is building a strong, inclusive, diverse coalition, united in standing up for us.

LJUnited overwhelmingly endorsed <lj user="rm"> recently as their candidate for the upcoming LJ Advisory Board elections. I hope you'll consider <a href="http://community.livejournal.com/lj_election_en/836.html">supporting her nomination</a>. Thanks!


-----------------------------------------------------------


Thanks everyone... Let's get this thing started! - 
Mark

** Update: As this is a volunteer-oriented post, all non-volunteer oriented comments will be screened. To simplifiy matters and avoid possible disagreement in ljunited, I would ask that everyone make it a matter of policy with their posts not to specifically address any candidate in this community other than rm or other candidates -- such as squeaky19 -- who choose to join our community because they support what we believe in. If anyone wishes to discuss this, they can do so in this post, which will be used as the sole post in LJ United for these issues. **
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Hello Everyone [May. 7th, 2008|12:06 pm]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

squeaky19
Some of you may know me, some of you may not. My name is Jason, but everyone refers to me by Squeaky, in fact I respond to both. insomnia recruited me to come here after he saw me throw my hat into the ring for the LiveJournal Advisory Board.

Before I go into my nomination and campaign over there, I want to let you all know who I am. I run a site based on the LJ GPL code called InsaneJournal, I am sure most, if not all, of you have heard of my site. I started the site in October of 2001, and as far as I am aware, I was the second site to open up on the GPL code after DeadJournal.

In recent months, I have taken a public stance against the censorship of LJ that started with Strikethrough. I have also absorbed most of the users of GreatestJournal after the owner there gave up on trying to keep the site running. Right now we are very very busy and are dealing with a lot of the shortcomings of, not only, the GPL code, but the documentation that comes with it.

That leads me to why I decided to run. Since there is such a large community of people who are on the LiveJournal platform though not on LJ itself, I felt we needed a voice to be heard. Now I really don't expect to win the election, I really believe that it's going to end up being a popularity contest, which I don't think nor intend to win. But I am going to be out there giving a very loud voice to SUP about the other sites out there and what LJ used to stand for.

LJ used to be awesome and Danga/Brad used to be take suggestions and even code development from people outside of LJ and not only incorporate it into LJ, but allowed it to go into the other sites. As the owner of one of these "clone" sites, I think we all understand that we can never compete with LJ, nor do we intend to. What each of us are doing is carving out a niche for those who love the platform but don't really feel like they fit in at LJ. And I really, really, hope that SUP recognizes this.

Hiding Images and some campaigning stuffCollapse )
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A few announcements. [May. 7th, 2008|08:05 am]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

insomnia
I'm proud to announce that rm is our "english" candidate for the LiveJournal advisory board position! Congrats Racheline! I know you'll be an excellent candidate to speak out for the issues that effect us.

I also want to introduce and thank another person for joining us here in LJ United. Yesterday, I noticed that squeaky19 decided to run for the LJ Advisory Board as well. Squeaky19 is probably best known as being Squeaky, the admin / creator of InsaneJournal, a home to a ton of people who also feel that LiveJournal took the wrong path somewhere along the way.

So, I contacted him yesterday, saying :

"I noticed that you are running for the advisory board in order to have a voice for all of the sites that use the LiveJournal GPL source code. This is an issue near and dear to my heart, as I feel that the management has done LJ source sites a significant disservice over the years, and I think that LJ code sites do need representation.

For instance, a lot of the ideas that I had in the early days of LJ were about making LJ code sites more of an open network of sites rather than a centralized, largely locked in site with poor interactivity between LJ code sites, rather than having the ability to "friend" people on other LJ code sites. A lot of these issues were ignored by LJ for what I viewed as largely shortterm, self-serving reasons inappropriate for an open source project, and sometimes code and the offer to code certain projects were rejected for the same.

ljunited is very supportive of the revitalization of LJ as an open source project, and I would like to invite you to join our community and to post to it, offering up your thoughts on what we can do to put forward policies regarding how LiveJournal/SUP can better support the open source project and sites such as IJ.

I think it's great that you're running and I think that sites like IJ truely do need a voice, but I also feel like what we are likely to see in this race is that a lot of the issues-oriented candidates will split the vote, while the various LJ "stars" with large friends lists win
based on zero substance.

For this reason, I ask that you consider the advantages of helping us create a united front against this, to be our advisor on all things open source and related to other LJ Code sites, and to help us draft the kind of policies regarding LJ and open source that will allow for strong representation for all LJ code sites and the open source community."


And so, Squeaky is in da house... both unified with us on taking the kind of firm stands on the issues that we do, and also here to be our "go to" guy on all issues open source and relating to LJ Code sites, which, rightfully, should be viewed as our brothers, and not as some sort of competitor. 

People talk to me sometime when I point out things like how LJ is shrinking in site activity, and ask me:

 "Do you think LJ will survive? For how long? Should I move my journal elsewhere!? All of my friends are on LJ, except for some who have already gone to (InsaneJournal, Blurty, etc.)"  

I don't always have an answer for them, because a lot of that depends upon what the owners of LJ do. And I have a problem with personally telling anyone to move their journal, because that is such a painful, heartrending thing to do at times, because you pour your whole life into it, build up your friends around it, and even if you can painfully migrate your journal over to another site and read your friend's journal entries through syndicated feeds, you still lose access to those friends-locked entries and that closeness and bond that comes from being on the same site.

What I do know is that all of that pain simply isn't necessary. It's pain that could -- and should -- be solved by code. Open soruce projects shouldn't "lock in" their users... but LJ *DOES* do so, because, well... it's good for business.

I think this is a very irresponsible shortterm point-of-view, however. There is real value from a business perspective to having LJ be viewed as not just livejournal.com, but as a serious piece of community-creating software that ties people in to a large decentralized network of LJ code sites. 

I'm also very concerned that if, one day, we all wake up to find that the owners of LJ decided to pull the plug on the site due to lack of profitability, the other LJ code sites just couldn't handle millions of people fleeing to their sites, and could find their community threatened because of the failures of LJ to get their act together. Even though I want to see sites like InsaneJournal grow and thrive, I don't want to see that day ever happen.

So, yes, if we are to talk about unity and about what is best for the future of LiveJournal, the open source project, and LiveJournal the larger community experience, we *NEED* people like Squeaky to have a voice, and we need to lend our voice to his, in support. Because we're all in this together.

So, a big welcome to Squeaky! We support you, and ask you to please, help us do this thing right. I also encourage you to make us a resource on LJ and a "home away from home" for those times when you really need people on LJ to speak up for you to the powers that be, and who support your side of the issues that effect you. 
 
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Vote: should we make rm our official LJ United nominee? [May. 6th, 2008|07:24 am]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

insomnia

It was with a good deal of relief to see that rm decided to throw her hat into the LJ Advisory Board race.  

I've known her on LJ for quite some time, and all I can say is that I have a great deal of trust in her intelligence, in her ability both to be an effective communicator, and also her strong stance on supporting the rights of the users of LiveJournal.
 
She has been on LiveJournal since even before I joined, which is a rare thing, and knows very well what has been lost along the way. She is a writer of fanfiction, is strongly supportive of the rights of fandom, and can help to unify LiveJournal around issues, not novelties.

I am especially pleased to see that her post to LJ United hit on the kind of topics that are important and relevant to many LiveJournal users and probably all of LJ United's members, and that she has done a very good, thoughtful job in replying to any and all questions asked of her by our members.   She has also made it clear to me that she would be willing to work closely with us as a community, keeping us informed and using us as a sounding board and a resource on important issues effecting the site.

It is for these reasons that I endorse rm as LJ United's official candidate for the LJ Advisory Board, and invite all of you to ask her questions on the issues, get to know her a bit better, and vote on whether you agree with me that we should make her our official candidate.

Poll #1183459 LJ Advisory Board nomination

Do you support the nomination of rm as LJ United's Advisory Board candidate?

Yes.
56(83.6%)
No.
11(16.4%)

Please leave any comments you may have regarding your decision.

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Asking for your support [May. 5th, 2008|09:43 pm]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

rm
Hey folks. insomnia directed me over here because I'm running for the English-speaking LJ Advisory Board position (I got the required 100 comments of support earlier today) and I've been active in the battle to get LJ to honor its committments to its users for a while.

I'll be frank and say I orginally got involved in all of this because of Strikethrough and Boldthrough. Those were events that affected a community that's been deeply important to me, but they also made me concerned about LJ and its policies on a broader level. I thought LJ's actions in that debacle were, even presuming the best of intentions as their basis, heavy-handed and indicative of an unwillingness to understand the cultures that create the content that brings the users that in turn generate revenue around here. What seemed like LJs quick capitulation to an extremist religious group and an apparent double standard as regards queer content and female sexuality were also distressing.

Of course, if you've been on LJ any length of time, you know that's not the only problem we're facing. LJ hasn't kept promises to its users. Among other things, tt has at various points violated its own ToS and has an abuse reoprting/redress system that is frequently a nightmare both for users in need and well-meaning volunteers. The recent uproar over the elimination of free accounts made the situation even more us vs. them and threatened to change the character of LJ in a way that would have, at best, been disappointing.

I think I'm in a pretty unique position as far as people running for the LJ Advisory Board. For one thing, I have experience being in the sticky position of being part of a community and also part of (or perceived as) the powers that be. I know all the ways in which it can be not fun, and I'm okay with that. LJ and what it's meant to me and everything I know is worth that.

And, while I'm active in fandom (Harry Potter, Torchwood/Doctor Who, World of Riverside, for those who care), I'm also a professional writer with a publisher who advertises my book on this site. I can represent some very sticky user concerns while also conveying a lot of legitimacy in terms of a corporate perspective.

These days I work as an actor and writer, but my professional background is in journalism, marketing and public relations, which are certainly skill sets that will help speak to the business and hopefully help educate the business on how to communicate with us, the users.

Finally, I'm in support of this community's positions the issues I've seen insomnia identify in its founding. The privacy of user information should be non-negotiable. No user should ever have to see ads if they don't want to (and yes, I have a hard time imagining who would); this includes receipt of unsolicited emails from LJ. I also believe the broadest definitions of freedom of speech aren't only the best ones for the LJ community as a whole, but actually the most workable ones from a corporate perspective.

I am not a particularly kind and gentle person, but I do try to avoid gratuitous nastiness; I mean what I say and I say what I mean, even if people don't like it. The willingness to call it as I see it combined with my odd niche in various LJ communities and my professional background, gives me hope that I can actually make some positive changes around LJ.

So, I'd love for you guys to consider supporting me in this, individually and collectively. And, regardless of what you decide, I'd love feedback on all your LJ concerns, most especially those related to usability and uptime: I haven't encountered the problems I know large swathes of the userbase has on this front, and I need to get fully educated on these points.

Thank you for reading what has become, I realize, a very long post.
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Your thoughts as a community on boardmembers. [May. 3rd, 2008|02:58 am]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

insomnia
The good news:
LJ United is over 110 members, which is a nice enough start, even though it hasn't been promoted very widely yet.

The bad news:
It looks like there are only a few days left until people start submitting themselves for nomination as LJ's boardmembers, which leaves very little time to find a nominee that is "pre-endorsed" by the community beforehand. That said, there are about two weeks for people to submit themselves as nominees and get their 100 "endorsement" comments, so any candidate we decide as a group to endorse by that time should make those kind of numbers easily.

So, if you are currently a member of the group who is curious about the idea of representing us in Turkey -- really, curious would be good enough -- please leave a comment and let us know. 

Also, I am curious as to whether any of you have heard of others who are either interested in running, or who you think would do a good job as our nominee that we should perhaps invite to the community. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment.

If we don't either manage to attract someone as a candidate before people start nominating themselves, at least I suspect that we will be able to make use of the lj_election_en and lj_election_ru communities to encourage various candidates to sign on to our platform and ideally represent us. We can then decide as a group whether to endorse one of the candidates in particular, which should give them a significant advantage that they wouldn't otherwise have.
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LJ United welcomes members of the fansub community! [May. 1st, 2008|07:08 am]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

insomnia
Hi everyone!  I've been dragging my feet for a few days in promoting LJ United, but I made a post today to fandom_flies, encouraging people there to join us in our common stand for the promises and principles that LiveJournal was built upon.

Basically, I told them what I said when I started this community. That it's wrong to play "divide and conquer" with LiveJournal's members. It's wrong to demonize specific groups, while systematically eroding the rights of everyone.

And yet, it's so easy to do, and so hard for any one group to resist. And so, I urged a common stand.

The post has only been up a few hours, but it's rapidly growing ljunited , which should top 100 members today, based on people who believe that it would've been far better for LiveJournal had the original promises made to us been kept.

I don't want to write another long-ass screed about everything, but I do want to say this:

This community is yours, and I encourage you not to just be spectators.  If you want unity based on the promises that were made to LJers and based on the kind of unity, inclusion, and freedom of expression that created LJ, then start telling your friends and communities about what we are doing, linking people to posts about the community, or simply creating your own posts. Feel free to use, reuse, or repost anything I've written ahout ljunited. No credit or attribution required.

Here's are a few other things we could use:
1> Someone to volunteer to design an icon and create a general website design/look for LJ United.  Extra points if you'd like to be a co-mod for the LJunited community and do the editing needed!
2> Someone willing to recruit and supervise a small promotions taskforce, designed to spread the word about the site.
3> Finally, it would be wonderful for someone to consider running as an advisory board nominee for our community, to represent us at the annual board meeting in Turkey this year.  

Yes, I know it might sound like a lot of work, but you'll have a lot of people behind you, which is a good start... and as much help from me as I can reasonably manage.

And lastly, I encourage any or all of you to start posting your ideas or asking questions about what you would like to see this community do, because forming a strong, united community isn't going to happen overnight... it's going to take lots of individuals, thinking about the problems we face, and working together to try to find solutions. 

all for now,
Mark
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Just as a clarification... [Apr. 27th, 2008|06:33 pm]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

insomnia

So, today 

eyenot posted to this community, entitled "Interview with the potential candidates", asking both me and several other candidates questions about our ideas, policies,etc.

And all this would be fine, except for one thing... 

I am not a candidate! I never announced it, and, although I appreciate the sentiments of those who previously suggested that I should run, and obviously have a lot of thoughts regarding LJ, I also have a lot of concerns as to whether it would be best for me to jump into that arena again.

Yes, it's important to me to see that the job is done well, or else I wouldn't have created this community.  Yes, I've always taken LJ's success -- or lack thereof -- very personally.  

That said, I like who I am today, and like not having to preside over the gradual pimping out of my love child. I appreciate the fact I don't have to bash my head against the corporate mindset that sees the fact that there are increasing difficulties with LJ as evidence that they *MUST* slap more banner ads on the site, as if that wouldn't actually increase the rate people are leaving LJ.

Really, the only thing that would be personally good about the position for me, is that it would give me a free trip to Istanbul. And frankly, I kinda doubt it would be worth it, in that it would probably piss me off in the midst of an otherwise perfectly good vacation.

So basically, eyenot has reposted elsewhere... and I've asked him to remove the reference to me being a candidate. But that said, I've seen the other candidates listed so far, and, well... I hope that someone else will run, because so far, those mentioned make me want to vote for "none of the above".

***UPDATE*** 
Looks like those other candidates might not actually be running...  Hard to tell, though, as btripp and eyenot seem to have both expressed a solid interest.

Neeeeeed more candidates... badly!  
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A possible rethink on a few things. [Apr. 26th, 2008|02:23 pm]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

insomnia
As I originally mentioned in my reasonings for creating ljunited, I wanted, most of all, to make sure that those candidates for LiveJournal's somewhat dubiously empowered member advisory board:

1> Are talented, dedicated, and hopefully experienced.
2> Adhere to a clear, responsible standard as the basis for their votes.
3> Have a strong level of LJ member support in order to increase the weight of their decisions, and the leverage they could bring to bear in influencing the decisions of LiveJournal / SUP.

My thoughts are that LJ United should work to nominate two skilled candidates out of a large community of involved, concerned LJ members, which, I think, would be an ideal situation.  

That said, it's damn difficult to make a large, involved, concerned community. I certainly encourage those who have joined this community to consider yourself empowered.  You're all equal members in this exercise... all, ideally, supporting the essential idea that the "unbreakable" promises that were made to LiveJournal's users in the past would've been best kept that way.

There are about fifty of us in the matter of about a day or so, which is a good start... but I'm uncertain as to whether we'll be able to move quick enough in spreading the word in order to field two candidates.  That is what I am trying to accomplish, but I don't think it's essential. 

What *IS* essential, IMHO, is that we endorse and ideally support two candidates who embrace our values, and support our platform.

So, I think we should see how things go, and how the community grows. If it doesn't look like we have enough members to both field and endorse two candidates -- which would require 100 members -- then we could at least see whether any of the candidates already out there are willing to declare that they'll endorse and support our platform and/or suggested policies.

Really, though... a lot *SHOULD* depend upon what all of you feel. Is our platform good? Would you change it or add anything to it?!

What policy ideas would you like to see? 

Really... make a post  or a comment about your thoughts, because we could use some good ideas. 

I've been thinking that one thing I would like to encourage at LJ / SUP is advocating for standards of openness, accountability, and transparency on key issues such as subpoenas from governments related to free speech issues, for instance, as well as some sort of centralized reporting for censorship, privacy, and free speech issues of LiveJournal / SUP that both addresses what LJ / SUP is doing and what the users could possibly do.  This would also include informing users of legislation, both in the US and abroad, that can affect the site, allowing members to take a more organized, proactive role in resisting such legislation. 

Again, what ideas do you think would be beneficial in order to restore trust and accountability for LiveJournal / SUP... and how can they better deal with certain communities in LJ, such as adult-oriented content creators, fanbased content creators, etc.    
  
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LJ United -- a beginning. [Apr. 25th, 2008|05:01 am]
LJ United -- Standing Up For LiveJournal's Future!

insomnia
As anyone familiar with the history of LiveJournal knows, it has taken years of gradual compromises and of neglect for LiveJournal to get where it is today.

It's also abundantly clear that further compromise will not solve the problems LiveJournal faces in the years to come.

 LiveJournal is shrinking. Gradually vanishing, with a constant reduction over a long period of time in the number of users posting to the site. 

... and the problem is getting worse. As of March 13th of this year, 965,781 users posted to the site in the previous 30 days. 
As of today, April 25th, only 954,876 users posted to the site in the last 30 days... a reduction of 11,000 users.

This is a longstanding, constant trend that needs to be reversed, if we are to have a strong, vibrant, enduring LiveJournal community.

And, of course, it's not just our longterm sustainability as a site that is threatened.  It is our rights and our freedoms... they're vanishing too. 

So, I must ask... 
When will LiveJournal, Inc. be willing to acknowledge that yes, there *IS* a problem.
What is LiveJournal willing to do in order to attract new members?
What changes is LiveJournal open to, in order to restore our damaged trust? 
What lasting promises are LiveJournal willing to make, in order to make us believe in them again?

... to make us into not just users, but partners. 
Evangelists, willing to go out on the limb for them.

After years of facing increasing competition and a gradual market downturn, it is now abundantly clear that there is unfortunately nothing that LiveJournal, Inc. can do to reverse its gradual downward slide.
 
But I know from firsthand experience that there is absolutely nothing that ails LiveJournal which its members cannot fix. 

It should be remembered that LiveJournal didn't just survive while other dotcoms, overly reliant on the fluctuations of banner ad revenues, went bust in the dotcom crash. We thrived... based largely on $25-a-year donations, paid for by members like you. Time and time again in our early days, we faced financial challenges. And time after time, our dedicated users came forward to help us, donating, encouraging their friends to donate. Encouraging others to join the site. That is how we grew this site. Not through advertising or banner ads, but through word of mouth, one member at a time. 

Does LiveJournal, Inc. want a successful, profitable business?! They're in luck.  Because more than anything, we want them to succeed too.

But they can only truely succeed if they respect us. They can only succeed in the long run based on *our* terms... because a fiercely loyal customer who will be there for your business, thick or thin, is always right.

To paraphrase a popular politician, we are the change they have been waiting for. 

We encourage everyone -- including the employees of LiveJournal.com -- to join us.
 
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